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How are shingles of the eye treated?

A:

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Medically known as ocular shingles, shingles of the eye is usually treated using nerve blocks, corticosteroids, anti-viral medications and pain relievers to ease pain. In most cases, the rash clears up within weeks without treatment. However, dermatologists recommend treatment to prevent itching, numbness, tingling and pain that can last for months, as stated by American Academy of Dermatology.

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Diagnosis of ocular shingles involves a physical examination and scraping the blister to get a sample to be viewed under a microscope. The doctor may send the fluid from the sore to the lab for further testing. In some cases, there may be pain after the rash clears up. Anti-seizure medications , antidepressants, anesthetic creams and pain relievers can help ease pain, as stated by AAD. Prior to using any medication, it is necessary to consult a doctor on any possible side effects.

Shingles is caused by a virus called herpes zoster virus, which also causes chicken pox. After chicken pox has cleared up, the herpes zoster virus remains in the body in an inactive state. A new exposure to the virus can cause shingles. In some cases, ocular shingles can lead to other health conditions, such as eye problems, post-herpetic neuralgia and bacterial infections.

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